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Finding the Right Fit for a True Clyde

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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

Finding the Right Fit for a True Clyde

Old 10-07-15, 09:54 AM
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sasquatch85
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Finding the Right Fit for a True Clyde

Hello everyone, this is my first post. I'm 6'6 and 330lbs. I'm looking for a road bike that will fit me, both in size and strength. I've done some research on several bikes meant for Big/Tall riders and I think I've narrowed it down to a few bikes.

I'm interested in the Soma ES Frame and fork, the Volagi Viaje which has good geometry, and the Zinn KHS Flite 747. the KHS is the most expensive, but has the longer cranks for better proportions, which I like. I'm wondering if it's worth the extra price. Of course the ultimate would be a Zinn custom fit, but I don't want to take out a small loan to get a fitting bike.

So, does anyone have any experience with these bikes? Also any advice or suggestions on other bikes beside these, would be welcomed. Thanks.
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Old 10-07-15, 05:00 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

I haven't purchased a Viaje, yet, and I think that looks like an amazing bike for clyde. Volagi offers a service where you can fly in to Utah and pick up the bike. They'll do a custom fit for you as part of that. This would include changing crank arms, if needed.

Given your screen name, I'm going to make a very special offer. When you find the right bike for you, drop me a PM. I have a buddy flap that would look great with your bike.

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Old 10-07-15, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by jeff556 View Post
Welcome to the forums!

I haven't purchased a Viaje, yet, and I think that looks like an amazing bike for clyde. Volagi offers a service where you can fly in to Utah and pick up the bike. They'll do a custom fit for you as part of that. This would include changing crank arms, if needed.

Given your screen name, I'm going to make a very special offer. When you find the right bike for you, drop me a PM. I have a buddy flap that would look great with your bike.

That is amazing. Thanks a lot man.
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Old 10-08-15, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by sasquatch85 View Post
Hello everyone, this is my first post. I'm 6'6 and 330lbs. I'm looking for a road bike that will fit me, both in size and strength. I've done some research on several bikes meant for Big/Tall riders and I think I've narrowed it down to a few bikes.

I'm interested in the Soma ES Frame and fork, the Volagi Viaje which has good geometry, and the Zinn KHS Flite 747. the KHS is the most expensive, but has the longer cranks for better proportions, which I like. I'm wondering if it's worth the extra price. Of course the ultimate would be a Zinn custom fit, but I don't want to take out a small loan to get a fitting bike.

So, does anyone have any experience with these bikes? Also any advice or suggestions on other bikes beside these, would be welcomed. Thanks.
They are all nicely spec'd bikes from niche builders. Soma probably the most classic and basic of those, and the most likely to hold value, if you care about such things. Volagi looks very cool, and well thought out; plus I'm always partial to companies who take on the big boys, as they did when Specialized seemed to be only in the business of suing people, which is quite counter to what should be the bike vibe.

I have a neighbor with a custom Zinn I've ridden. Solid, solid, stable bike. Compared to what I'm used to, it was much more stable and less racy, but that could be just because that's what he wanted.

I have not found much difference in crank lengths and their effectiveness. I am smaller than you at 6'3, and have a fixed gear bike with 165s and two road bikes with 175s. If I think about it, I notice the difference, but only if I think about it.

Your biggest challenges with these bikes will be twofold: getting the fit right, and the fact that you are highly unlikely to be able to try one before you commit in some way. Volga and KHS are direct-to-customer (I think) and Soma appears frame-only and tied to dealers. If only for that reason, I'd suggest starting with an LBS you trust, has a good reputation and respects the fact that you want a more stable road bike and doesn't try to steer you to an MTB or a beach cruiser because you're a big guy. The LBS relationship will also help you with fit.

On fit, the big number to watch is top tube length (virtual for sloping). Your weight suggests there's also an abdomen at play (forgive me if that's incorrect) and the fact that you want a road bike suggests that fitness is now a priority and that the abdomen bit might change. Both of those factors mean that the fit gets really important -- it has to fit, and there has to be room such that you're not so stretched out that your legs hit your abdomen at the top of the pedal stroke. But you also don't want to be too vertical, or cramped, because as you get fitter that will become a limiting factor. Again, LBS.

On to wheels. You're big enough that these will be an issue to watch carefully. Most bikes will ship with machine-built wheels, and the suitability of these when they arrive varies significantly. You will be hard on wheels, and a good LBS which will steer you right on these (or build a dedicated set for you) is well worth avoiding all the hassles.

Consider budget, type of rides contemplated for now and 2 years from now, and find a local community (beyond the inter webs) that will help steer you right. That said, this is a heck of a starting list, and you may have found the friendliest corner of the bike world in this site.

Last edited by adrien; 10-08-15 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 10-08-15, 06:06 AM
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Consider also a Gunnar Sport frame and build. It will end up being between the Soma and Zinn price-wise. By shopping around, you should be able to build up a Gunnar for somewhere around $2000 total. For a frame custom built to your dimensions, that's very good value.
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Old 10-08-15, 07:02 AM
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Check out https://www.adrenalinebikes.com/stor...ategoryID=2121 They carry most of those brands and can assemble a bike to your specs. I'm checking out a Gunnar for myself on Monday.
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Old 10-08-15, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by adrien View Post
They are all nicely spec'd bikes from niche builders. Soma probably the most classic and basic of those, and the most likely to hold value, if you care about such things. Volagi looks very cool, and well thought out; plus I'm always partial to companies who take on the big boys, as they did when Specialized seemed to be only in the business of suing people, which is quite counter to what should be the bike vibe.

I have a neighbor with a custom Zinn I've ridden. Solid, solid, stable bike. Compared to what I'm used to, it was much more stable and less racy, but that could be just because that's what he wanted.

I have not found much difference in crank lengths and their effectiveness. I am smaller than you at 6'3, and have a fixed gear bike with 165s and two road bikes with 175s. If I think about it, I notice the difference, but only if I think about it.

Your biggest challenges with these bikes will be twofold: getting the fit right, and the fact that you are highly unlikely to be able to try one before you commit in some way. Volga and KHS are direct-to-customer (I think) and Soma appears frame-only and tied to dealers. If only for that reason, I'd suggest starting with an LBS you trust, has a good reputation and respects the fact that you want a more stable road bike and doesn't try to steer you to an MTB or a beach cruiser because you're a big guy. The LBS relationship will also help you with fit.

On fit, the big number to watch is top tube length (virtual for sloping). Your weight suggests there's also an abdomen at play (forgive me if that's incorrect) and the fact that you want a road bike suggests that fitness is now a priority and that the abdomen bit might change. Both of those factors mean that the fit gets really important -- it has to fit, and there has to be room such that you're not so stretched out that your legs hit your abdomen at the top of the pedal stroke. But you also don't want to be too vertical, or cramped, because as you get fitter that will become a limiting factor. Again, LBS.

On to wheels. You're big enough that these will be an issue to watch carefully. Most bikes will ship with machine-built wheels, and the suitability of these when they arrive varies significantly. You will be hard on wheels, and a good LBS which will steer you right on these (or build a dedicated set for you) is well worth avoiding all the hassles.

Consider budget, type of rides contemplated for now and 2 years from now, and find a local community (beyond the inter webs) that will help steer you right. That said, this is a heck of a starting list, and you may have found the friendliest corner of the bike world in this site.

Wow, thanks for the thorough response.

You mention the Custom Zinn being really stable. I've heard that from other bigger guys that have ridden a custom Zinn. I feel like stability is definitely and important factor to look for, when looking for bike in my size.

I'm not looking for a race bike as this is just going to be for recreation and maybe down the road I might do some fun races. The custom is of course the dream bike, but absolutely out of budget, that's why I was excited to see the Zinn designed KHS. It has the same higher BB and Custom cranks that the Custom Zinn does, but for about the a third the price and the 2014's are selling for like 1300! Which is actually the cheapest out of all the builds that I've listed here. The only potential problem I'm seeing with the the KHS, is the stock bike comes with 700cx28 tires. these would be fine if I was 200lbs, but I'm not. I can't really find anything on what width tires could fit between the forks. I think it would be fine, if I could at least put 38's on the bike.

The Volga Viaje XL looks like a great build for big guys. The top tub is the longest of the three builds and it has fork clearance for up to 42's! I can take it on rough pavement and light gravel and not worry about getting a flat.

The Soma is interesting. It comes in a 66cm frame, but has the shortest top tube of all three! I've talked to a couple of guys that have built a Soma from the frame up and say they have spent around 1800 all together. This is pretty pricey and I feel like it would take me forever to build for the price and I still might not be happy with the geometry. The guys I talked to were around my height and they felt really comfortable it, but they were both thinner than I am, so that might be an issue.

I do have a bit of a gut, but a lot of my weight is muscle. I compete in powerlifting so I weight train three to four times a week. Don't get me wrong, I'm not super lean, but I'm looking to use cycling to help with that. I have been frequenting a LBS by me, which is a Bike Barn. They have ordered a 25'' trek 7.2 hybrid to let me try, while it felt worlds better than the crappy 58cm Schwinn I'm riding now, it didn't really feel quite right. They do seem to keep pushing a hybrid for me to buy, because of my weight. From what I've read Hybrids are only really good if you are going between 20 and 30 miles and I'm already doing 20+ miles a trip. I'll talk to them more about wanting a road bike and see if they are more open to helping me. As of now they only have a 61cm Specialized for me to ride, but it might give me a better understanding of what I'm might need.

Is this the friendliest place in the bike world? That would be a shame. Are cyclists known for being unfriendly?

Thanks again for all your help, I really appreciate it.
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Old 10-08-15, 08:36 AM
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You'll be fine with 28s. I rode on 25s and was heavier than you when I started. Air them up to max and you won't have any pinch flat problems.
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Old 10-08-15, 08:55 AM
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Me again. Trek dealer willing to order things in for you to try?

I'd consider having them order one of these for you, in a 63: 520 - Trek Bicycle

Classic, very well reputed bike. A little more touring focused (would not be ideal for racing), but worth a look, especially given your comment on stability.

That KHS deal is something. There are a few folks here with them and they seem well-liked, though there were some issues reported with chainrings flexing.

And -- cyclists are generally really nice. Hard to go out and enjoy yourself without being pleasant. But the roadie community has a bit of an edge. This corner is very encouraging, because so many folks have gone through transforming themselves. We generally want to help and try to encourage.
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Old 10-08-15, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by bassjones View Post
You'll be fine with 28s. I rode on 25s and was heavier than you when I started. Air them up to max and you won't have any pinch flat problems.
Great! I'll definitely keep that in mind. That helps a lot.
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Old 10-08-15, 04:25 PM
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I'm far too close to your weight for comfort considering i am shorter - (Roly Poly body ) --- but i have until recently been riding on 23c tires that came with my bike --- they worked fine at max pressure (about 115) - - and when i switched to 25's, it was a big "Wow!"

I would think 28's would be even more of a good thing , but im not going wider than that

Regarding "friendliness" of cyclists --- i guess it depends ,--- I've been riding for 25 years and can concede that in some facets of cycling, (mainly racing ) there are elitist attitudes with lower categoried racers

I frequent one of those shops that caters to the local fast boys and the snootiness and attitude is gone with guys who are actual pro's or amateur cat-1's --- they can even abide with riding with a Clyde like me on rest/recovery days without trying to grind me into the pavement or show out. I'd rather ride with the fast boys myself (on their easy days - my heart rate is still zinging) as their understanding of pack etiquette and bike handling is a lot safer and i can appreciate that --- Club racers and Cat 5 guys can be squirrelly at times

On the flip side, i have a good friend who converted completely to mountain biking as he couldnt deal with riding with the snobs in his local club

And on the mass rides you are likely to do (metric centuries, centuries, - maybe some "Death rides" (Hotter n Hell, tour of the Battenkills, etc etc) occasionally ) -- you are going to meet a lot of good folks
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Old 10-08-15, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by adrien View Post
Me again. Trek dealer willing to order things in for you to try?

I'd consider having them order one of these for you, in a 63: 520 - Trek Bicycle

Classic, very well reputed bike. A little more touring focused (would not be ideal for racing), but worth a look, especially given your comment on stability.

That KHS deal is something. There are a few folks here with them and they seem well-liked, though there were some issues reported with chainrings flexing.

And -- cyclists are generally really nice. Hard to go out and enjoy yourself without being pleasant. But the roadie community has a bit of an edge. This corner is very encouraging, because so many folks have gone through transforming themselves. We generally want to help and try to encourage.

I'm not totally against a touring bike, most of the large frames are steel anyway. Although on the one you mentioned im. A little worried about to top tube length being too small. I'll check it out though, and see how I fits.
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Old 10-08-15, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by sasquatch85 View Post
I'm not totally against a touring bike, most of the large frames are steel anyway. Although on the one you mentioned im. A little worried about to top tube length being too small. I'll check it out though, and see how I fits.
Oh, entirely possible. But worth a try. Find out what the effective top tube is on the specialized they will have you try and use that to calibrate.

I bring it up because it's good value, is built to handle weight, has bigger tires and a very good reputation. Plus you mentioned the appeal of stability.
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Old 10-08-15, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
I'm far too close to your weight for comfort considering i am shorter - (Roly Poly body ) --- but i have until recently been riding on 23c tires that came with my bike --- they worked fine at max pressure (about 115) - - and when i switched to 25's, it was a big "Wow!"

I would think 28's would be even more of a good thing , but im not going wider than that

Regarding "friendliness" of cyclists --- i guess it depends ,--- I've been riding for 25 years and can concede that in some facets of cycling, (mainly racing ) there are elitist attitudes with lower categoried racers

I frequent one of those shops that caters to the local fast boys and the snootiness and attitude is gone with guys who are actual pro's or amateur cat-1's --- they can even abide with riding with a Clyde like me on rest/recovery days without trying to grind me into the pavement or show out. I'd rather ride with the fast boys myself (on their easy days - my heart rate is still zinging) as their understanding of pack etiquette and bike handling is a lot safer and i can appreciate that --- Club racers and Cat 5 guys can be squirrelly at times

On the flip side, i have a good friend who converted completely to mountain biking as he couldnt deal with riding with the snobs in his local club

And on the mass rides you are likely to do (metric centuries, centuries, - maybe some "Death rides" (Hotter n Hell, tour of the Battenkills, etc etc) occasionally ) -- you are going to meet a lot of good folks
Ah ok, yea I don't live in an area where a lot of competitive cyclers live, at least I don't think. I don't ever see them in the LBS anyways. Everyone I've met so far has been very helpful.

That definitely puts my mind at ease about the width of the tire. That opens up more options for me.
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Old 10-08-15, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by adrien View Post
Oh, entirely possible. But worth a try. Find out what the effective top tube is on the specialized they will have you try and use that to calibrate.

I bring it up because it's good value, is built to handle weight, has bigger tires and a very good reputation. Plus you mentioned the appeal of stability.
Yeah, for sure. I'll check it out. Thanks again.
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Old 10-09-15, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by sasquatch85 View Post
Ah ok, yea I don't live in an area where a lot of competitive cyclers live, at least I don't think. I don't ever see them in the LBS anyways. Everyone I've met so far has been very helpful.

That definitely puts my mind at ease about the width of the tire. That opens up more options for me.
May be more than you want to know at this stage, but...there is a trend towards wider rims now, and it's making its way into production wheels. Now, the same size tire on a wider rim will be effectively wider, and will have a commensurably larger volume of air and therefore also contact patch. That means for example that a 23 on a wide rime (like a HED Belgium) will in fact be as effectively large as a 25 or 27 on a narrower rim. Many folks like these because they can then lower the pressure.

For example, when I was 250 I had traditionally narrow rims and 28s. I ran them at 115/105, and that was pushing it. Now, with wider rims (H+ Son Archetypes) and 27s, I'm 210 and I can easily run those at 95/85. This makes the ride much more plush.

It also means that weight and width of tire are not as directly correlated as one might think.
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Old 10-09-15, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by adrien View Post
May be more than you want to know at this stage, but...there is a trend towards wider rims now, and it's making its way into production wheels. Now, the same size tire on a wider rim will be effectively wider, and will have a commensurably larger volume of air and therefore also contact patch. That means for example that a 23 on a wide rime (like a HED Belgium) will in fact be as effectively large as a 25 or 27 on a narrower rim. Many folks like these because they can then lower the pressure.

For example, when I was 250 I had traditionally narrow rims and 28s. I ran them at 115/105, and that was pushing it. Now, with wider rims (H+ Son Archetypes) and 27s, I'm 210 and I can easily run those at 95/85. This makes the ride much more plush.

It also means that weight and width of tire are not as directly correlated as one might think.

I'll have to look into some different rims when I buy my bike. If the stock wheels aren't wider, I'll see what I can find to make the ride a little smoother.
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Old 10-10-15, 05:13 AM
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Velocity Dyad are a great choice for big guys. 36H F/R mated to Ultegra hubs can be built at a pretty nice price. Kinlin rims are another great option.
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Old 10-11-15, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by bassjones View Post
Velocity Dyad are a great choice for big guys. 36H F/R mated to Ultegra hubs can be built at a pretty nice price. Kinlin rims are another great option.

Oh cool and they look sweet too.
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Old 10-27-15, 06:03 PM
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I had a chance to visit Volagi's shop in Utah last week. Robert, the co-owner, spent an hour or two with me and my wife chatting about their bikes and fitting us. We each took a test ride on a Viaje and really liked it. While I was riding the Viaje I found it to be light, quick and responsive - a real joy to ride. We walked out of the office with a fitting sheet so if (perhaps "when") the time comes, I can call up and get bikes that will fit us to a T.

I was very impressed by Volagi.
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Old 10-28-15, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by sasquatch85 View Post
Is this the friendliest place in the bike world? That would be a shame. Are cyclists known for being unfriendly?
This is the friendliest place in the bike world. I don't know that cyclists are generally unfriendly, but there are a lot of weight weenies and brand/spandex snobs that will look down their noses at heavy/sturdy bikes (and thus by implication riders), but here in the C&A forum everybody is super cool and welcoming and helpful.

I'm a fan of Volagi, the 1x10 Viaje is a top contender for my next bike, but I wonder whether 63cm is really big enough for a 6'6" rider. I'm not quite 6' and I was looking at the 60cm myself (currently ride a 60cm Surly CrossCheck).
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Old 10-28-15, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by bassjones View Post
Velocity Dyad are a great choice for big guys. 36H F/R mated to Ultegra hubs can be built at a pretty nice price. Kinlin rims are another great option.
++ for Dyads; have them on one of my commuters - in 40H, with 28-622 on front and 35-622 on back; the bike is a mid '90's Trek 720 with trekking bars. I am 350+ lbs. The wheels have several thousand miles on them (I built them) with no issues.
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